In a Split-Second!

Missle Cruiser

That’s all it takes for news anyplace in the world to reach the world along with its far-reaching impact due to the internet.  It impacts the minds, hearts, and emotions of millions . . . in a split-second!

Even the worn-out announcement “Breaking News” still grabs the inquisitive minds of so many!

Early this morning as I sat by the fireplace reading Jeremiah 14-16, I repeatedly saw phrases like this: Then the Lord said to me . . . The Lord said . . . Therefore thus says the LORD.

Compare for a moment earthly, internet news and the words of God.

  • The news you hear in the world turns old in moments; God’s Word is never stale, it’s eternal and life giving (Psalm 33:11; 119:25, 89, 92-93; 1 Peter 1:25).
  • The news you hear in the world is often tainted by man’s viewpoint; God’s Word is always pure, perfect and true (Psalm 119:160; Proverbs 30:5; John 17:17).
  • The news you hear in the world is always a symptom of a greater problem; God’s Word always correctly diagnosis the case and prescribes the correct remedy (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
  • The news you hear in the world can quickly become irrelevant; God’s Word is always relevant and fresh for every situation of life (Psalm 119:89-96).

As I pondered God’s direct communication to and through Jeremiah to Israel and their subsequent response, I thought of my response to God’s Word as I read its pages.

Which affects me more; which grips my heart the most; which grabs my inquisitive mind?  News on the internet or the truths of God’s Word?

Spend some time meditating on Psalm 119:97-104.  In a split-second it can change your life, and it’s always for good.

97 Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;
For they are ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the ancients,
Because I keep Your precepts.
101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.
102 I have not departed from Your judgments,
For You Yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.

The Making of a Man: Who You Listen To

Who is the person you listen to more than anyone else?  Bob Kesling (UT Radio Voice)?  Brad Nessler (ESPN)? Shepard Smith (FoxNews)? Your children?  Your wife?  Your boss?  Your co-workers?  Men, the voice you listen to more than anyone else is . . . your own; your own heart.  Throughout a day, no matter what anyone says to you, you always respond to it from your heart.  See, right now, you are already responding to what I have written!  This begs us as men to consider two truths.

You must not listen to your heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 says, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  Just taking this passage at face value, what does it say about your heart?  Do you want to listen to that which is deceitful, full of lies, and desperately wicked?  Do you want to listen to a heart that you cannot fathom, understand, or explain?  Then, why do you listen to yourself?  I listen to myself because I like myself.  I am selfish.  I think I have it all figured out.  See there, I am deceived.  So that leads me to the next principle that is so needed.

You must speak the truth to your heart.

Proverbs 23:7 says, For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.   Instead of listening to myself, I must speak the truth to myself.  There are so many wonderful, life-changing, “keeping me on the right track,” truths from God’s Word that need to be uppermost in my mind and heart.  Here a few right out of Ephesians 1 and based upon my position in Christ:

  • Since Christ is the eternal expression of God’s greatest blessing, I am blessed forever in Christ with all spiritual blessings (3).
  • Since Christ is the Father’s eternally Chosen One, I am chosen in Christ; His forever (4).
  • Since Christ is the accepted and beloved Son of God, I am accepted in the beloved (6).
  • Since Christ is the full payment for my sin, I am redeemed through His blood (7).
  • Since Christ is the access into God’s grace, I am graced forever (7).
  • Since Christ took the wrath of God for my sin, I am reconciled to God (10).

Men, to overcome the deceitfulness of our hearts, we must constantly speak the truth to our hearts.  Stop listening to yourself and start preaching the Truth to yourself today—that’s what we need to hear!

Just Follow Your Heart

How ironic that after Tuesday’s blog, Cat Fights & Conflicts, our local newspaper, the Johnson City Press, would carry the following headlines later on in the day–Bombing Attempt: Deputies say Jonesborough man tried to kill with homemade device.  The first paragraph of the story began, “A long-standing feud between two Jonesborough families boiled over earlier this month after a man threw a homemade explosive device into an occupied residence, according to court records.”  A long-standing feud between two families. How sad.  Where did it come from?  What’s the source of this feud?  Jesus answers this question in a conversation with His disciples as recorded in Mark 7:17-22.

When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. 18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?”[g] 20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

When we follow our heart, see what comes out?  Nowhere in Scripture am I exhorted to follow my heart, but I am exhorted to follow Christ.  As you can see from the Mark passage, following the dictates of my heart leads to sorrow, shame, and sin.  When I turn my life, my heart over to Jesus Christ and follow Him as my Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9-13), since He is Truth (John 14:6), then I can respond and walk in the truth; I can count on the Truth leading me (Psalm 23:1-4; John 16:113-15); I can trust Him when my heart wants to go its own way because as for God, His way is perfect (Psalm 18:30); I can then know true delight and life (Psalm 37:4-7a).

So, if your heart wants to “bomb” someone, mortify the flesh (Romans 6) by surrendering to the Truth that will set you free, guide your steps right, and turn your heart toward Christ.

Trick or Truth

The first time I can remember observing Halloween, I was five years old. How excited I was to wear my Yogi Bear costume, knock on our neighbor’s doors, receive candy, and then go eat candy! To me it was a simple evening of clean enjoyment. My parents made it that way. Instead of making an issue out of it, they just made sure it was an evening given to what was right.

Much has changed in 50 years. That’s why I am sharing two very well-written articles on the subject of Halloween. The balanced approach of John MacArthur’s writing is informative, practical, and spot on. David Mathis’ article adds to the first, but turns our thoughts in a direction that will make us think and hopefully understand, “The gospel changes everything!” Please be sure to read each article in its entirety.

Christians and Halloween – John MacArthur

Sent Into the Harvest – Halloween On Mission – David Mathis

I’m sure you will handle Halloween as you believe is right before the Lord. These two articles say what is in my heart, give the basic reasons for what we do at Boones Creek Bible Church, and why, if I am able (due to recent surgery) will be going door-to-door to GIVE out GOSPEL tracts and a GIFT to my neighbors. Oh, by the way, if you are wondering, I’ve grown out of my Yogi Bear costume. 🙂

 

So Thankful!!

As I read the following blog post, Undercover At Oprah Conference, my heart responded with gratitude as well!  I am so thankful the Lord has led Boones Creek Bible Church to use the Answers In Genesis Sunday School material to instruct the whole congregation in a harmonious study of God’s Word.  I am so thankful that God’s people are learning to give a biblical response for what they believe (1 Peter 3:15).  I am so thankful that more and more people are getting on board and growing together in community through Sunday School.  I am so thankful that we are learning the Truth, personally applying the Truth, proclaiming the Truth, and watching the Truth change lives.  I am so thankful we will one day stand face-to-face with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), and live with Him forever!

Oh, Those Precious, Pious Statements – Part 2

Illustration by Rachel Ternes

What would the following men have said if a dear, well-meaning individual said to them, “Well, you know, the Lord won’t put on you more than you can bear”?

Elijah

And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God. (1 Kings 19:7-8)

Job

Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb? Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should nurse? For now I would have lain still and been quiet, I would have been asleep; Then I would have been at rest.  (Job 3:11-13)

Paul

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  (2 Corinthians 12:7-8)

If I read these passages correctly and there are many others, it sounds like to me that the Lord did put on these men more than they could bear!  Truth is, God does give you more than you can handle because He wants you to depend totally on Him.  Think about this lame, spiritually sounding phrase against the backdrop of these passages of Scripture:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.  (Matthew 11:28-30)

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.  (2 Corinthians 1:8-11)

Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

These passages address this erroneous statement of  the Christianese language.  God does put upon us hardships and trials that are too hard for us to handle.  He does so to develop Christlikeness in us (Romans 8:28-29) and a dependence upon God alone.

Psalm 18:1-3 — I will love You, O Lord, my strength.The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised.

Oh, Those Precious, Pious Statements

Satan is a great deceiver.  Man is often so gullible. The devil loves to get us believing statements that sound so good, but are so deceitful and untrue.  They may partial truth, but are not completely true.  For instance, have you heard anyone say or have you said:

“Just follow your heart.”

“God works in mysterious ways.”

“Money is the root of all evil.”

“Cleanliness is next to godliness.”

“To thine ownself be true.”

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“God needed another angel in heaven, so He called him/her home.”

“The Lord won’t put on you more than you can bear.”

There are many others, but these are not to be found in Scripture.  The one I want to dwell on for a moment today is often said at the point of frustration, exasperation, and hopelessness, “Well, I guess all we can do now is pray!”  Have you really given thought to that statement?  What are you really saying?

This statement is a declaration of the following:

1.  “I’ve tried everything else, and it didn’t work, so I guess we can pray now.” This is making prayer a last resort.

What does Scripture say about this?

Philippians 4:6-7  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2.  “I have looked everywhere except the Lord and His Word for the answer, for the great need I have, but finally after much searching, I recognize I better come to God.”

What does Scripture say about this?

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

James 1:5-8  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

3.  “Well, I don’t have any other options. Guess I’d better pray.”

What does Scripture say about this?

Psalm 18:6, 16-19  In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.  He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.

Often, the Lord does bring us to a place where all option are removed so we will depend upon Him, and Him alone!

Here’s the correct response to all of life, to all unanswered questions, to all needs, to all difficult situations, to all prayer burdens and to every situation:

Psalm 16:8-9 I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope.

Psalm 18:1-3 I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.

Matthew 6:33   But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Genesis 1:1  In the beginning, God . . . .

Today, drop the pithy, pious statements of the Christianese language, and speak the truth to yourself.  Run to Christ in prayer all day long; not as a last resort!!